And I am not talking about product UI (User Interface) – I am talking about the “company” UI from the customer’s point of view. After all my poor buying experiences with companies that have very bright and dedicated people working for them, it became clear to me that most companies should hire or staff a group of independent customer advocates with UI experiences to ensure that all the touch-points through which a customer can interact with the company are all compatible with one another and are all delivering against the same promise that is being made during the pre-sale cycle. That includes packaging, in-store support/returns/etc, phone support/billing/etc., web support/shops/registration/etc, and any other way through which a customer could interact with the company after they first buy a product.
The fact that HP as a company has multiple logins for different shops, and that a “customer” case manager for one division can not handle problems the customer has with another division would go away if you would have a customer-centric company UI group who would police this stuff. The fact that my insurance company sends me statements with a different look and feel, different information in the same places, and different content for the various policies I have would go away as well. The fact that most corporate web sites are organized around the companies’ divisions instead of being customer-centric would also go away…you get the point.
A good example of a company doing this right is Apple. I recently bought a new iMac for my son, as well as a new Airport Extreme to upgrade my home office network. I registered those products online, and required some support for setting up disk and printer sharing with the new Airport. I have also been using iTunes to buy my music for years. At Apple, all the touch-points reinforce the same message – we are easy and fun to work with. From the store interactions to the packaging, to the online support and registration systems, all the touch-points are perfectly tuned to one another and they all have “me” at the center.